The Stuff of Leadership

Feb 13, 2013


This is an excerpt of a block of instruction that I taught regularly in the Police Supervision Course. A great discussion question in regards to leadership is this: What are some of the character traits of an effective leader?

1. Decisiveness Leaders make decisions. There is nothing worse than following an indecisive leader. Indecisiveness creates a feeling of uncertainty in followers. People want to follow someone who knows where they are going. Fear is what keeps people from making decisions. Caution is good and it is important to consider various options. There comes a time, however, when it is time to act. Make a decision! That is what leaders get paid to do.

2. Positive AttitudeAttitude creates atmosphere. Leaders are responsible for the atmosphere of their organization or section. Followers feed off of their leader’s positive attitude. There seems to be a correlation between productivity and creativity in companies and organizations that have a positive, affirming, and encouraging atmosphere.

3. Consistent– We have all had the boss whose mood and outlook fluctuated from day to day (or hour to hour!). It is not a good feeling going to work and wondering who we will be working for that day. Will it be Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde? I think we owe it to our people to maintain some level of emotional consistency. The boss should not be the person known for their mood swings!

I only mentioned three character traits. Can you think of any more that define an effective leader?

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